By: Jamie McAllister
When Gloria Henderson was laid off from her job at Marriott in early 2009, she decided to go back to school for massage therapy. But after earning her degree she accepted another job in the hotel industry and decided it wasn’t the time for her to pursue something new. In 2011 Hurricane Irene struck coastal Virginia and the hotel where Gloria worked was damaged by the storm and went into foreclosure. At 48 years old, she once again found herself without a job and took the plunge into a brand new career: entrepreneur.
Gloria used her final paycheck to start Soulful Journey, LLC, a massage therapy business in Newport News, Virginia.
“I took the loss of my last job in the hotel industry as a sign,” Gloria said. “I jumped right into my business and gave it my all.”
Life as a beginning businesswoman wasn’t easy. In addition to giving massages to clients, Gloria also had to handle marketing and accounting, as well as the multitude of administrative tasks that come with owning a business. When she heard about GiFT, (Get Focused Together), a 12-week workshop designed exclusively for business owners, Gloria decided to enroll in the sessions.
“Up until GiFT I was working by the seat of my pants,” Gloria recalled. “I would get great suggestions from friends and colleagues, but all of that would go out the window because I was so caught up doing the actual work. I decided to attend the GiFT sessions to learn what I was missing and take my business to the next level.”
The GiFT sessions, led by Shelley Smith, executive business coach and owner of Premier Rapport, Inc., were eye-openers for Gloria.
“The most powerful moment for me came when I finally put into words exactly what I stand for,” Gloria said. “Articulating my personal value statement and saying I am authentic, effective, and intuitive has helped solidify the positive feedback I have received from clients and helps me place greater value on the work I do.”
As a result of Shelley’s instruction and the information presented in the GiFT sessions, Gloria is going to take another look at her pricing structure and adjust her fees accordingly.
“Shelley is a straight shooter,” Gloria said. “She knows what she’s doing and she has a knack for explaining things. She always brings the information she presents back to the business owners and what we can get from it.”
Goal setting is another area Gloria is going to work on in 2016. “It is easy for me to hide in a little corner and not make goals, but GiFT taught me to get out there and do it,” she said. “The sessions have helped me be more goal-focused and intentional. I know I need to write it all down, especially my income goals.”
Using all that she has learned will be a challenge, but Gloria is eager to get started. “I had heard a lot of the info and advice before, but I hadn’t been ready to receive and implement it until now,” she said. “I just wasn’t at that level yet. Now I’m in a place where I’m ready to put forth the effort. Hearing it again from Shelley made me much more aware of what I need to do and how I can accomplish it.”